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Emergence and Decline? The Modern State, 15th - 21st Century

Prof. Dr. Klaus Weber



Donnerstag, 14.15 - 15.45 Uhr, Ort: LH 101/102, Veranstaltungsbeginn: 13.10.2016

From the Renaissance, Europe has seen the rise of a unique phenomenon in world history: that of the powerful military fiscal state, ultimately leading into the development of modern nation states. This was at the cost of a multitude of smaller and bigger territories and power-holders, among them feudal lords, war lords, wealthy city states, the Church(es). The process – often violent –has been accompanied by scholarly writing on the legitimacy of power, and by debates about how best to organize it. The seminar will treat both the historical process and some of the contemporary authors, such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Martin Luther, or Thomas Hobbes. The development seems to have culminated in the fairly stable period of the Cold War. Since its end, we are witnessing rather crumbling and failing of states. Among the effects entailed are re-feudalization by organised crime, the emergence of private military companies resembling the infamous war lords (“condottieri”) of the 15th and 16th centuries, significant cut-backs in welfare provision, and even increase in religious conflicts. The topic thus implies the question whether there are lessons to be learned from history.


  • Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince (1532),
  • Charles Tilly: The European Revolutions 1492-1992. Oxford 1993.
  • Charles Tilly: War Making and State Making as Organized Crime, in: Evans / Rueschemeyer / Skocpol (eds.): Bringing the State Back In, Cambridge 1985, pp. 169-191.
  • Peter W. Singer: Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry. Ithaca NY 2004.

Hinweise zur Veranstaltung:

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